$60 Gets You A New Medical Record And Free Foot Amputation
from the I-stole-a-colonoscopy dept
We've talked at length about how hard it is to straighten out your record after you've had your identity stolen, assuming you know you're a victim in the first place. While it's one thing to debate a purchase with your credit card company, it's an entirely different animal trying to convince your medical provider you still retain possession of both of your feet. One 57-year-old Florida woman found that after her identity was stolen, the information was used to pay for a costly foot amputation. Worse, after heading in for a hysterectomy, she found that the scammer's medical history was now intertwined with her own -- the records suggesting she had magically acquired some of the scammer's medical conditions (like diabetes). Statistics show some 250,000 Americans had their medical information stolen and misused in recent years, with user records selling for around $60 a pop on the black market. It's not always individual scammers looking to get free medical care, and the information doesn't always come from industry insiders. Organized crime rings frequently run insurance scams at bogus clinics, who promise discount health care to the gullible. The scams are amplifying the existing fears surrounding national medical ID systems, since a record that once just resided in your doctor's office would now be present in a multitude of databases -- databases you know will ultimately wind up on some boob's stolen laptop. Still, human stupidity and crap privacy protection policies are problems whether you're talking about manila folders or a national fiber-connected medical database.